A matchup of county teams and the renewal of the second-longest rivalry in the state highlights Week 7 of the TSSAA football season.
Cleveland High is even on the season at 3-3 but lead the District 5-AAA race with a 2-0 mark as it welcomes county rival Walker Valley to Benny Monroe Stadium.
The matchup of the only two Class 5A teams in the district no longer has an automatic bid into the state playoffs up for grabs but there is still plenty on the line in the contest.
The Blue Raiders are coming off back-to-back losses to Red Bank and Cookeville and are looking to right the ship as they head down the stretch.
Walker Valley (2-5, 0-3) hits the road for the first time in a month but with three straight losses at “The Corral” a change of scenery might not be a bad thing.
Both teams have scored 24 touchdowns this season, but Cleveland has only surrendered 13, while the Mustangs have allowed 36.
The intracounty matchup features the area’s top two rushers as Walker Valley sophomore sensation Kelvin Wells Jr. has gained 1,169 yards while scoring 14 times and Cleveland’s Jamarcus Mobley has found the end zone nine times while gaining 713 yards in just five games.
The Blue Raiders are hoping for the return of quarterback Chad Voytik, who suffered a compound fracture of a finger two weeks ago, although freshman Austin Herink threw for 143 yards and a couple of touchdowns last week in Cookeville.
Bradley Central makes the short trip up Interstate 75 to face its oldest rival this evening. The Bears and McMinn County played for the first time in 1916 and tonight’s meeting will be 84th straight year for the annual battle.
Bradley is 5-2 on the season and 2-1 in district play and a win over the Cherokees (1-5, 0-2) would be a big step toward a return to the playoffs for the Bears.
Coach Damon Floyd’s crew knocked off 10th-ranked Soddy-Daisy last Friday and hope to spoil another homecoming celebration tonight.
Fifth-ranked Polk County (5-1) takes a break from District 5-AA action tonight as it makes the journey to Tellico Plains.
The Wildcats and Bears are no strangers to each other and while the Big Red Train is a big favorite over the winless boys from Monroe County, Coach Derrick Davis isn’t counting his chickens before they hatch.
The Tennessee Vols (2-3) head “between the hedges” of Coach Derek Dooley’s old stomping ground, Athens, Ga., for a noon showdown with Georgia (1-4).
On Sunday the Tennessee Titans (2-2) head into the heart of Texas to face “them Cowboys.” Dallas (1-3) is coming off a bye week and will be ready for the 4:15 kickoff in the home of this year’s Super Bowl.
The red-hot Atlanta Falcons (3-1) journey north to Ohio to face the Cleveland Browns (1-3) in a 1 p.m. start Sunday afternoon.
Plenty of pigskin action is on tap this weekend with some exciting horsehide in the air as well, as the Atlanta Braves take part in the Major League Baseball playoffs. Game 2 for Atlanta is at 9:30 tonight.